Even with all of the economic struggles of the EU, Europe remains the region best equipped to support a strong tourism industry. In the World Economic Forum 's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index for 2013, the top five countries are all in Europe: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, and the UK. France and Sweden are also top ten countries, along with outsiders the U.S., Canada, and Singapore . Overall, World Economic Forum researchers found some positive trends globally in the travel and tourism sector. Two years after the last edition of The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, the world economy remains somewhat fragile. Growth in emerging markets is returning tentatively, but rising inequalities, macroeconomic concerns, and high unemployment— particularly among the young—continues to afflict many advanced economies. Despite the mixed global economic picture, prospects for the Travel & Tourism (T&T) industry are not entirely gloomy. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourist arrivals grew by 4 percent between January and August 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, and total expenditure on tourism has also increased. Although most of the increase in spending was from travelers from developing countries such as Brazil, China, and Indonesia, advanced-economy travelers—even those from economies where the economic outlook appears more pessimistic—increased their spending. Even amid shrinking household and business budgets, spending on travel is continuing, although the structure is changing. While the frequency, distance, and length of international trips tend to be shorter, the number of international travelers has increased—perhaps indicating that travel is increasingly seen as necessity rather than a luxury. Travel & Tourism remains a critical sector for development and economic growth for advanced and developing economies alike. Developing a strong T&T sector supports job creation, raises national income, and also benefits the general competitiveness of economies through improvements in hard and soft infrastructure. Access the full report here .
Filed under: Britain, UK, global business, World Economic Forum, Germany, Spain, travel, tourism, travel and tourism competitiveness, austria, Switzerland